Hi and welcome back to another week on the Chrissie Murphy Designs blog. This week I’ve been reflecting on the word Abide…. Abide is a word that means to live in or dwell. Most of us have someplace where we are living or dwelling. As as with most things though, the Lord provides examples in the natural world that are symbolic of what happens in the spiritual world. So let’s get into this so I can show you what I mean…..
We all abide in something
We can abide in an attitude of contentment or criticism, we can abide in grief and loneliness, we can abide in fear and anxiety. Indifference, happiness, solitude, lust, pride, anger, ignorance or peace….. my point is we all abide in something. I think we’re designed to.
At Christmas time, we celebrate the birth of Jesus. I like John 1:14a as it describes Jesus’ coming in this way,
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us….”John 1: 14a
The Word (Jesus), became a human (flesh) and dwelt (lived/abided) among us. At Christmas time, we celebrate Jesus coming to dwell among us. In Genesis it talks about humans being made in the image of God. If God abides so do we.
There are temporary and permanent dwelling places that we can abide in
I’ve spent a significant portion of my working career in the building industry, so I know a bit about dwellings. There are temporary dwellings… things like tents, caravans, and donga’s that are not designed to be permanently fixed or tied to a particular place. They can be moved around and they’re only intended to be lived in for a short amount of time.
And there are permanent dwellings… things like houses, pavilions and units, these are permanently fixed, tied down and cannot be moved. They’re built to withstand natural events, to be sustainable and use energy resources efficiently. And they are designed to be lived in for significant periods of time.
What matters about where you abide is the permanency of what you’re living in. Are you living in something that’s only designed to be temporary? Or are you living in something that’s designed to be permanent?What matters about where you abide is the permanency of what you’re living in. Are you living in something that’s only designed to be temporary? Or are you living in something that’s designed to be permanent? Click To Tweet
Permanently living in a temporary place is a problem
Temporary places are not designed to be lived in permanently. Coming back to our examples above, a tent isn’t designed to be lived in permanently. It’s not permanently tied down, so it can’t withstand the forces associated with significant natural events. In a cyclone or storm, this type of building would move, providing you with limited and poor protection from the elements.
It’s not vermin proof, so over many years, insects, critters, birds, rodents, all sorts of vermin are able to access the structure. In doing so they, may introduce additional heath or structural concerns. It contains no sanitary plumbing and drainage, so your waste is not being discharged to a properly designed sewerage system. Poorly treated effluent becomes a risk to your health and the health of the public, in the short term and long term.
Problems happen when you live permanently in something that’s not designed for it.
First the natural, then the spiritual
Just like the natural, physical situation above, the same happens in the spiritual. We were never designed to live in criticism, grief, loneliness, fear, anxiety, indifference, solitude, lust, happiness, lust, pride, anger or ignorance permanently. Problems happen when you live in these things permanently.
In Psalm 90 Moses says,
“Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.”Psalm 90:12
In other versions it says “teach us to number our days”. We only have a short time on Earth, so we need to remember how important this is and use this time wisely. Where we choose to abide is critical to how we use the time we have.
When we abide in things like indifference, pride or lust permanently, we rob ourselves of time because other things end up being produced. We find ourselves having to deal with issues like shame, woundedness, conflict, addiction, resentment, humiliation, disgrace, sadness or isolation. These things are fruits of where we abide, they are what is produced as a result of where we have been living.
For many, they become a cycle that can go on forever. In dealing with the shame, they then find themselves abiding in anger. And then when they deal with the anger they find themselves abiding in resentment. The cycle goes on and on and on and they try all sorts of things to get off the merry-go-round.
So where we choose to abide IS important
Jesus knows this. He was and is an example we can follow. When He came and dwelt among us, He chose to abide a life of servanthood, helping and serving others. In Matthew 20 He shares about it,
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”Matthew 20:28
He came to live a life of serving others, He chose to dwell in servanthood.
Christmas is a great time to reflect on where we abide, because Jesus is all about abiding. There’s a verse in the Psalms that says, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
Jesus, was (and is) the Son of God, someone who dwelt with and in the secret place of the Most High. He came to Earth, as a baby, and dwelt among us. He went on to live a life of servanthood, ultimately giving his life for many. And as I said earlier, where you choose abide is important because it produces fruit.
The fruit of Jesus’ life was love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. These are also the fruits of the Spirit, and where Jesus chose to abide a life of servanthood, these things grew and flourished.
Where are you going to abide in 2020
As we head into Christmas and the new year, I pray you’ll take time to reflect on where you will be abiding in the year ahead. Is it time for you to leave that place that was only ever meant to be temporary and move on to something more permanent? I want to be producing good fruit. I want to produce fruit that nourishes and helps people, so I’ll be taking some time to carry out an inspection and see how my dwelling place stacks up as well. If I need to move, I will be.
If you know you’re in a place that’s not going to withstand the storms of life, I’d love to pray for you. Let me know what you’re looking to move in to, and I’ll join you in prayer to see it fulfilled. Leave me a comment or send me a private message (you can contact me here) and let me know what’s on your heart.
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Until next time, listen to your heart and sharpen your coloured pencils. A masterpiece awaits!
Bless you my friend